BOSTON — The Boston Celtics, responding after a loss in Philadelphia on Sunday, held off the Washington Wizards 110-102 in a battle for second place in the Eastern Conference on Monday night.
Boston earned its 11th win in its past 12 home games to extend its lead to 2 1/2 games over Washington. The Celtics also moved within two games of the conference-leading Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Wizards cut a 20-point third-quarter deficit to six late, but four straight points by Boston’s Marcus Smart put the game away.
This was the fourth straight physical affair between the teams, with the home team winning both of its home games. This matchup again featured all kinds of chippiness and five technical fouls, four on the home team.
Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics (45-26) with 25 points, Avery Bradley had 20 points, nine rebounds and four assists, Al Horford added 16 points, nine boards and five assists, and Jae Crowder had 16 points and nine rebounds.
Smart finished with 10 points, and Kelly Olynyk had nine points and 11 rebounds off the bench.
The Wizards, losing for the fourth in their last five games, got 19 points from Bradley Beal, 16 from John Wall, 14 each from Markieff Morris and Bojan Bogdanovich and 13 from Jason Smith.
Washington (42-28) was guilty of a season-high 28 fouls.
Thomas, returning from missing two games with a knee bruise, didn’t like the way he was defended on a first-quarter drive and picked up a technical foul just as Beal was hitting a 3-pointer at the other end.
Then came the real rough stuff when Brandon Jennings, new to the rivalry, bumped into Terry Rozier, who shoved him to the floor. Jennings was called for the foul, words were exchanged, and Jennings and Rozier got technicals.
Boston’s Amir Johnson received a second-half technical for hanging on the rim and Smart picked one up for arguing later in the quarter.
NOTES: The Celtics were 13 of 58 from 3-point range in their last two games with G Isaiah Thomas out and went 10 of 33 upon his return. Before that, they were one short of equaling Houston’s NBA record (set earlier this season) with 27 straight games of at least 10 3-pointers. … Thomas extended his club record with a trey in his 45th straight game. … F Markieff Morris returned and started for the Wizards after missing two games because of illness. … While the Wizards and Celtics have been going hard at each other this year, Washington coach Scott Brooks said this was “another game,” noting, “Let’s face it, everybody’s fighting Cleveland. Cleveland’s (the) defending champs.” … The Wizards host the Atlanta Hawks and the Celtics play the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night.